Unplanned portrait wins first Lighthouse Open Call

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

A chance meeting in Boscombe bus station lead to the striking and perceptive portrait that has won the first Lighthouse Open Call Exhibition. 


Entitled Maureen, it was painted by self-taught artist Adilson Naueji and submitted in response to the Open Call theme, ‘Life In Dorset’.  


“I met Maureen three years ago, not very long after I first started painting,” explains Adi. 


“I had been to a workshop led by Mark Perry at BEAF in Boscombe and I asked him about how he chose his subjects for portraits. He told me to trust my eyes, so when I saw Maureen in the bus station as I was walking home I sat and chatted to her for a while then asked if I could take her picture and turn it into a portrait. She was a little surprised but she agreed.” 


Adi didn’t see Maureen again for two years until last summer when, as an emerging artist based in Boscombe, he was able to show the completed portrait at the BEAF festival. 


“We’d lost touch, but on the day of the festival I saw Maureen completely by accident and took her to the painting. It was a bit of a shock for her, but she said she really liked it and we’ve been in touch a few times since then. She’s very pleased it is being shown at Lighthouse.” 


Adi was born and grew up in Angola before moving to Boscombe six years ago with his wife and two children and shows his commitment to the town by painting its people and places. 


“When I paint, I have to make the connection between people and the place they are in,” he says. 


“Boscombe has been good to me. It’s where I feel safe and so does my family – we still live in the same house we came to six years ago. Some people say bed things about Boscombe, but they’re not the people who live there. It is a place of welcome with a vibrant, inclusive community. It’s my home.” 


Maureen is on show in Lighthouse Open Call Exhibition in the Gallery at Lighthouse until 11 May alongside others works including figurative portrayals and more abstract pieces, as well as the realism and blunter depictions of life in Dorset. Adi’s prize for winning the first Lighthouse Open Call is to present a solo exhibition – his first – at Lighthouse next year.